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Pussy Riot Member Set Free

Prison camp sentence upheld for two bandmates

- Common Dreams staff

On Wednesday, a three-judge panel in the Moscow City Court ordered the immediate release of Pussy Riot member Yekaterina Samutsevich, though upheld the sentence for her two bandmates.

Pussy riot member Yekaterina Samutsevich was released from jail on Wednesday. Photo by Associated Press. According to the Associated Press, the court suspended Samutsevich's two year sentence because "she was thrown out of the cathedral by guards before she could remove her guitar from its case and take part in the performance." The performance, which was staged in the Moscow cathedral, was an incognito "punk prayer" asking the Virgin Mary to save Russia from President Vladamir Putin.

"The punishment for an incomplete crime is much lighter than for a completed one," Samutsevich's lawyer, Irina Khrunova explained. "She did not participate in the actions the court found constituted hooliganism."

The other two band members, Aria Alyokhina and Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, were found guilty and sentenced to two years at a prison camp. One of their defense lawyers, Mark Feigin, made the statement: "We're glad that Yekaterina Samutsevich has been freed, but we think the other two girls should also be released." The BBC reports that their appeal process will continue.

Earlier this month, Samutsevich had delayed a court appeal when she requested to change her legal team, citing disapproval with their handling of the case. The other two members elected to stay with the original defense.

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